Wood, Wood Worm, Hinge, Rots, Door

House derelict though still dwelt in

A place unkept and decayed

Gates at angles remain ajar

No longer sturdy like when they were made

The old recluse abides within

Visitors discouraged – even shunned

Gates and their owner quite unhinged

Ever since he lost his wife and son



Heart, Broken Heart, Love, Valentine, Symbol, Red


I have had a lot of love and support shown to me by friends and family since Dianne’s passing.  I am loved.  As a person of faith, I am not depressed – after all we knew it was coming, and she was certain as to where she was going.  I too share the hope of heaven.  I am at times still sad and heartbroken at the loss of being able to daily see my wife, lover, and best friend.

A few nights ago, I had one of those “sad times.”  It was late at night and I was alone in the house, and lonely.  As the insomnia kicked in, I penned this somewhere between 2 and 3 AM.


Heartbroken is a simple phrase

But it shows itself in many ways

The desire to binge or not eat at all

To doze all day – at night stare at walls

The sense of loss too deep to describe

Sometimes so harsh that you can’t abide

Heartbroken is a way you feel

So hard to believe that the situations real

My heart does in loneliness ache

It will just takes time for me it all to intake




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One of Dianne’s favourite places

Of favourite colours , and favourite flowers –

These things such familiar sights day by day –

Favourite places and favourite foods –

Prized the more by me –

Now that my favourite has gone away.


Written for In Other Words, favorite things… on the one month anniversary of my wife’s passing.

Shared on d’Verse as well.  Be sure to check the link for some great poetry.



Spring In The Heart: A Tanka

selective focus photography of white flowers

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

My Aunt Jan lost my Uncle Herbie almost exactly two weeks before I lost my wife, Dianne.  We have corresponded several times over social media since, and we share our common experience of loss and remembrance.  Yesterday she asked how I was doing, to which I replied that I was beginning to build some new routine in my life.  She returned with the comment that she too was finding new routines.  She then noted that it is springtime in Australia, and it is getting warm.  I noted that that was poetic – new routines and spring coinciding.  We then talked of gardens in this context.

New sunshine creeping 
A fresh beginning – face warm
Blossoms reemerge
My heart gladdens in brightness
Life springing from sun drenched earth



Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 147, #Poet’sChoice


We do not grieve as others who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4: 13)

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I am in grief.  There is no denying that.  But even in the sense of personal loss which wells over me at this time, it does not overcome me.   I have hope.  It is a hope founded in faith, and in which my wife’s passing was not “game over,” but merely a time of separation.  A time in the scheme of eternity that will be but a blink.

Yes, it might seem long (depending on how long I have still to continue my pilgrimage) while here on earth, but it is not enough to cause me despair.

A Christian lady I once saw on a video made a powerful statement about facing her own demise.  She said, “Death is a comma, not a full stop.”  How wonderful a way to express the hope in our resurrection to join Jesus.  One part of our existence will come to an end, only to continue with the rest of the story.

Paul wrote, “We do not grieve as others who have no hope (1 Thess. 4: 13).”  Yes, we still grieve, but not as those that think that this earthly life is all there is.  My wife as she faced death, always held that God could heal her at any time.  Such power was His to deal as was best.  But she also held that accepting her mortality was a blessing.  We are only passing through, here below.  If we cling to this life, with the conviction that death is definitive, then of course it brings fear and pain.  But she in her hope of a life everlasting, easily was able to say to God: “In my life – your glory.   If I am healed – it will cause people to marvel and praise.  And if I don’t get physically healed, I will live my faith to its full, and show those around me, that death is not to be feared because Jesus has gone to prepare me a place.”  She lived that to the end.   We should too.



In The Face of Grief: Haibun

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image by Dianne 

My wife prepared me for her passing in every way she could.  She told me to keep on writing, and not to wallow in grief.  Her advice was wise and strengthens me.  In taking a moment to collect and recollect these words flow.

Wait, Pause, Take Breath, Breathe
A moment to stop, Collect
Letting Anguish ebb

Padre – in the second of my Dianne postmortem poems

My thanks to Chèvrefeuille for also for us to pause, it was a perfect word for my day.



Her Request


In writing today I honour her,

It is the thing she said was to be done,

I am to continue to pen the thoughts of my heart

Even though she is gone


She worried so on what I would do –

Would I simply drift away?

Neglecting myself,  pushing all aside –

She told me to keep writing anyway


So though my heart is broken,

My mind only numb,

I have penned this first postmortem poem

It is the thing she said was to be done


Maybe I will be stronger now,

In my effort her wish to fulfill

I have focused on a purpose

In so doing she’s with me still




Thank you Dianne for loving me so much that you planned for everything.  I love you too.







Bible Ladies (Part 1): Hagar (A study in strength and weakness)


Fanfani Enrico Hagar And Ishmael

One of the most interesting and sometimes controversial women of the Bible is the matron (or even matriarch) Hagar.  She should in no way be confused with Dik Browne’s comic strip Viking, but should be seen as a woman of mystery, nobility, and at least some measure of faith.

We first find reference to Hagar in Genesis chapter 16, “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived (verses 1-4a).”

This has long been a talking point, that any wife might offer the maid to her husband to produce a child with.  Fair enough, the need for an heir was an insurance policy in those days, but this is more of a discussion about Sarai (Sarah) so I will leave it off for now.

What happens next is interesting, however. “When she knew she was pregnant, she (Hagar) began to despise her mistress (vs 4b).”  This may well have been a disdain for being put into the situation of bearing a child as a surrogate, without having a choice in the matter.  Another take is that, she had now become “more important” than her mistress by virtue of her pregnancy, so exploits her new found role as “heir-bearer.” To me, a third explanation is intriguing however.

This view centres around a rabbinic tradition that Hagar was the daughter of an Egyptian nobleman, and that her servant status to the house of Abram was part of the settlement Pharaoh had made with Abram in Genesis 12.  “When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman.  And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.  He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.  But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?  Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had (verses 14-20).”

In this view, this was a woman of noble birth, not a common slave  Her attitude therefore is more haughty (or at least confident) than might be expected, and fits Hagar’s character (or at least pride) in this passage and beyond.

In the biblical account Sarai mistreats Hagar and she flees from the abuse. While alone in the wilderness an angel appears to her. “Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”  The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”  The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael for the Lord has heard of your misery (16: 9-11).”  When she later gives birth, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me. (vs 13).”

She may be noble and haughty at times, but she is obedient to the instructions from God. But, God’s plan was not for the heir to be Ishmael, and in the fullness of time Isaac is born to Sarai/Sarah. Ishmael and his mother are therefore cast out into the wilderness.  “Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.  Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink (Genesis 21:14-19).”

This episode is also fascinating.  When Abraham sends them away, he gives them food and water, but no material wealth. It is a symbolic point being made, that Ishmael and his mother have no claim of inheritance.  They are sent off with the bare minimum.

Now in the desert, the water gives out.  Hagar leaves her son in the cover of a bush and goes away to mourn his impending doom.  I marvel at this in two respects.  The first is that this woman who adamantly held to a name for her son, given by an angel, would ignore the same angel’s prophecy that Ishmael would become the father of a nation.  Okay, despair is a powerful thing.  Many of us might well have done the same.

The second point to ponder is that she removes herself from her son so she can’t watch him die.  I am not going to judge, for every person deals with this scenario in a personal way.  She clearly does not want to witness the most terrible event in her life – her son’s death.

On pondering this, I myself could not do the same.  I have lost a child.  If I had that day to live over, I would have given anything to have had just a few more precious moments with her – even if they did culminate in her death.  It seems, a common approach.  Mary made her way to the cross of Jesus, and many others have sought those last few minutes even if ending in pain.

In Islamic tradition, however, Hagar’s actions are not quite as passive.  Yes, she may well have in the end went to the side to sob, but before that she is said to run back and forth throughout the area looking for water (an event reenacted every year as part of the Hajj pilgrimage).

Here again is a woman of dignity and of will.  Her faith may have waned, but her spirit doesn’t until the end.  An end, in which God again intervenes, and she sees the needed water.

This proud woman’s last recorded act is to secure a wife for her son in Genesis 21:21, a wife not of the local tribes, but of her own people in Egypt.  This is often cited as supporting evidence of her Egyptian noble status.  Why would a slave return to the land of her captivity, or seek a wife for a free born son among the lower rungs of society (he former peers).  As an Egyptian of good family, however, she might well seek a suitable wife from among her peers and extended family, fit for one who would sire “twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps (Genesis 25: 16).”

So what can we learn from this “Bible Lady?”  First, whether noble or base she had pride and self-assurance.  This was especially prevalent when she was following the lead of God.  Secondly, she obeyed God.  This was true in her returning to Sarai, and in the naming of her son. Finally, she like us had lapses in her faith.  There is much to this last point.  Her faith (and remembrance of the God’s promise) started to fail.  But, just when she finally gives in to the despair, God stepped in and “opened her eyes.”  We can take heart in that.  God is faithful, even when we are not.  He will lift us up, especially when we have hit bottom.

Let us seek the emulate the strengths of this woman, Hagar; and let us learn from and grow from her weaknesses.


[I will post several other studies on “Bible Ladies,” though the order will not be systematic but rather as my musings and ramblings lead me].



An Outpouring of Grief


The massacre in Las Vegas has once again brought society to a point of despair. The tangible grief of my fellow bloggers (and I am sure people everywhere) is plain.  Three bloggers I admire have made very different secondary discussions on the fact that a 64 year old man, on his own, could and did destroy so many lives.

What we do have in common is our primary pain.  Yes, it pales in the face of the families and friends directly involved, but our common humanity calls on us to mourn and to pray.

The first blog I read on the Las Vegas atrocity was posted by Irish, a woman I greatly respect and who has overcome so much in her life.  She offered her frustrations that the evils of this world seem to amass and amass. Irish’s blog was a plea that all of us must feel at times like this.  I wrote to her to say her grief and frustration is what shows we still have hope as a people.

I next read the reflections of another young woman who I admire for her faith and the journey of healing she has made.  She was overwhelmed by the political callousness of many in the wake of the atrocity.  Political one-up-man-ship, and pro or con gun control agendas where there should have been prayer and condolence. BeautyBeyondBone’s blog was moving in its call for prayer and its focus of the motives of ill and destructive people over those of “guns.” She was clear however on the priority of the human and spiritual arguments rather than the political. I have long admired the heart of this young woman.

Chaplain Ian did draw the question of weapons into focus, but not without a Christian heart and one that called us to remember all who have suffered from gun crime, including the latest perpetrator’s own family.  His Christianity and pastoral heart were made plain.

It is this spirit of love and humanity that I find in all three that move me.  Here are three people of very different backgrounds, but all want a better world.  One in which love rather than hatred prevail.

Let us pray for Las Vegas, but also for a hurting world.  Let us love and show love.  Let us find the common ground with all, even those with whom we disagree.  Let us strive to make that difference on relationship or opinion at a time.